Catalonia SmartLab
The Government’s Secretary for Enterprise and Competitiveness, Pere Torres, and the General Director for Telecommunications and Information Society, Jordi Puigneró, presented the Catalonia SmartLab project, an initiative put forward by the Telecommunications and Information Society Department (DGTSI). The project is in collaboration with Catalonia’s town halls and will serve to create a network of urban laboratories to test smart solutions for everyday needs.
The event, which took place in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat on Wednesday, was attended by the president of the Barcelona Provincial Council, Mercè Conesa, Localert director general Xavier Furió, and various representatives and IT directors from the town halls involved in the project. 
Catalonia SmartLab is one of many SmartCAT strategies put forward by the Government of Catalonia encouraging smart city projects for the country’s transformation into an internationally recognised smart region. The project is “yet another sign of how the [SmartCAT] strategy was put in place to ensure the country transforms its economy and the way it manages cities to be at the service of citizens”, explained Pere Torres, the Secretary for Enterprise and Competitiveness.
According to Torres, Catalonia SmartLab must be a “tool for cooperative dialogue between those who generate new technologies, those who use or manage public services and the citizens, who are the final beneficiaries”. In this regard, the Secretary for Enterprise and Competitiveness assured that the administration “must listen to the final beneficiaries, ensure cohesion between these agents and encourage dialogue to ensure efficiency and, above all, inclusion”.
On his part, Jordi Puigneró, director general for the Government’s Telecommunications and Information Society department, asserted that “Catalonia SmartLab encourages the coordination and exchange of local experiences with private businesses”. According to Puigneró, the project will do this with two objectives in mind: The first objective is to stimulate technological industries offering access to infrastructures and equipment, and the second objective is to boost innovation in cities though pilot projects created by companies willing to try them out in everyday situations.
It is about putting territories at the disposal of companies to test smart solutions in an agile, flexible and fast way”, explained Puignerò. “For this reason we are counting on the involvement of town halls to make Catalonia SmartLab into an operating network which will benefit the entire country and not just institutions”, added the director general.    
Catalonia SmartLab is, therefore, a point of reference for businesses seeking municipalities in Catalonia to test their smart projects. Ultimately, the plan intends to welcome ventures that will benefit citizens by providing intelligent solutions to everyday needs while remaining in alignment with town hall priorities.
At present, Catalonia SmartLabs comprises a network of 22 municipalities and is open to all innovative villages, towns and cities wishing to place themselves at the disposal of the business community for testing smart products and trying out smart solutions.
In her closing remarks Mercè Conesa, president of the Barcelona Provincial Council, explained how “cities are perpetual laboratories, and many of them are open to companies wishing to create pilot projects for the benefit of citizens”. In this regard, the project is “entirely aligned with the Government’s SmartCAT strategy”, she added.